Wolf's Rain Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Beez
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Wolf's Rain

Wolf's Rain Vol. #3

By Paul Jacques     February 10, 2006
Release Date: January 06, 2006


Wolf's Rain Vol. #3
© Beez


What They Say
Although Kiba and the group may have evaded the retrieval team for now, upon reaching the other side of the “Forest of Death” - the wolves are attacked by Darcia – who will stop at nothing to take Cheza back from them. Whilst tending to their wounds sustained from trying to defend Cheza, Kiba and the others meet Blue once more, before they head towards Daricia’ fallen Keep in the hope of retrieving the flower maiden.

In the meantime, Hubb meets Quent and they decide to travel together for a while together whilst their goals overlap, on a major road-trip neither of them will ever forget.

Unbeknownst to everyone though another Nobel by the name of Jagara has begun to wage an all out war on her rival Nobles using her seemingly invincible army and it seems that nobody will be safe from losing something dear to them.

The Review!
Audio:
I listened, alternating between Japanese and English audio with each episode change. Both provided a solid and fault free stereo (192Kbps), but not much is the way of left or right directional sound, it all comes from the front. Either sound track is good, so you pays your money and takes your choice as it’s a win-win option.

Opening song is called Stray and is a really great track, lots of toe tapping beat. The closing song is called Gravity which is gentle and soothing.

An additional note here is that I just love the incidental music, really different, really interesting (must be Ms Kanno ;-).

Video:
Video was very good, with the 4:3 aspect looking very good on my TV and the PC, although the colour palette is a little dull- I suspect this is deliberate, in order to show what sort of world they live in. I don’t know if this was transferred over from the master or it’s an R1 translation but nothing appears to have been lost in the process, and no artefacts were seen, and the characters and scenes appear with good lines and edges.

Packaging:
Excellent packaging with a bred-green double-sided cover (in transparent box). The front cover is adorned with a scene of the story’s ladies (Blue, Cher and Hamona). On the back we have 4x stills plus the full technical details. On the inside of the cover we have Chapter listings. Inside the box we have a small 2x page insert, which also doubles as a mini poster. And the disc itself has a wolf howling on a green background.

Menu:
The menus are excellent. They must have put considerable effort into making them look good, and it shows, with good (and different) incidental music to accompany the animated hot links. All the links worked quickly and no dead ends were encountered.

Additional points to Beez for producing the sound AND menus in their respective European language- nice one guys.

Extras:
In the extras section of the disc we get a clean Op and Ed, plus character bios which do contain spoilers…. so you have been warned (ah, OK, you’ve probably sussed it out by now anyway). Also we have promo trailers for Gundam Seed, Scryed, Stratos 4, Planetes and Witch Hunter Robin.

The addition of a cast interview makes for a nice garnish, although watching three very young men squirm uncomfortably on a studio sofa is bizarre to say the least. Alas, no insight into the production or the life of a jobbing VA.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Episode 9 has Hubb checking into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Cher, and he knows it has something to do with what Lord Darcia stole- but what exactly was stolen?

Cher meanwhile is getting drunk in a bar, having lost track of Cheza and now fully understanding that the myths about wolves are true- perhaps Paradise is also true? In her search for more clues, she runs into Lord Darcia!

Meanwhile Cheza and the wolves are still penned in within the confines of the town, and time is running out as the retrieval teams net is squeezed tighter around their hide-out.

Quent and Blue are also in town, looking for the wolves but finding nothing but trouble and reminders of the bad times. Due to circumstances and a misunderstanding Quent looses Blue, but Blue finds something in return, something she didn’t know she had.

As the group make their escape through the enemy picket line, towards the “Forest of Death” they run into Quent, who manages to injure Kiba.

The next episode finds the group deep in a forest with no food, water or sunlight (for Cheza), and then things get worse, Cheza collapses and the band are forced to seek refuge in a cave with some creepy inhabitants. And after short and bitter fight the group finally make it out of the “Forest of Death”.

Episode 11 Finds our erstwhile group entering a seedy town

Meanwhile Hubb is finding out what it’s like to be on the wrong side of the law, with a rough interrogation opening his eyes to how corrupt things really are under Lord Arkham. Only the fortunate attack of Lady Jaguara on Lord Arkham allows Hubb the opportunity to escape and continue looking for Cher.

In Lord Darcia’s stately abode, Cher learns some more about “The Book of Moon” and begins to get an idea of what “Paradise” really is. We learn some good back-plot and motivational information, so no fast forwarding through this episode.

During the full moon Cheza shows the wolves the way to Paradise at long last, but before they get very far Lord Darcia appears, blows the wolves up and steals Cheza away from under their snouts.

The final episode on this volume finds that Lord Darcia isn’t the only Lord with power, and Lady Jaguara was not after Lord Arkham but was simultaneously able to infiltrate Darcia’s stronghold whilst he was away, and kill Hamona.

While Kiba and the guys recuperate from their wounds, who should come into their midst, but Blue, in human form! And thanks to her – with some scene interleaving with Quent – we finally get some clear character motivation; finally we start to hear reasons to care about certain characters in this story.

Although for the most part the wolves are confused and lost since Cheza’s abduction, a fortunate meeting with an old couple gives them the clue they need to start look again for Cheza, as they now know where Lord Darcia lives.

Meanwhile Hubb and Quent meet up – two men deprived of the thing they love - get drunk and realise that their paths follow the same direction.

In Summary:
The problem with this series, is that we have been given very little reason to care about the characters, just tidbits of back-story really. Only in the last 2 episodes do we finally get some motivational enlightenment, which allows for some emotional engagement with the story we are watching….. better late than never I guess. The story shifts up an emotional gear and the plot vista opens out a little more.

Features
Japanese Language DD 2.0,English Language DD 2.0,French Language DD 2.0,English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Dutch Subtitles,Polish Subtitles,Cast Interview,Character bios,Clean Opening,Clean Ending

Review Equipment
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 19” SM930bf LCD, ATI X700 & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & headphones and a duck.

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